السلام على من اتَّـبع الهذى
As-salaamu `ala man-itaba’a al-huda,
I begin this opening statement with all absolute praise be due to the One True God of Abraham and His Last Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ
الْحَمْدُ لله رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ
Alhamdulillahi rabbil aalamin.
وَالصَّلاَةُ وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَى أَشْرَفِ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ وَالْمُرْسَلِيْنَ، وَعَلَى أله وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَ جْمَعِين
Was-solaatu was-salaamu ‘ala ashraf-il anbiya’i wal-mursalin wa ala alihi wa sohbihi ajma’in.
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِى صَدْرِى، وَيَسِّرْ لِى أَمْرِى، وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِى، يَفْقَهُواْ قَوْلِي
Rabbishrahli sadri wa yas-sirli amri, wa-hlul uqdatan min al-lisaani yafqahu qauli.
The topic today is “Is Islam Dangerous To The World?”. We must first understand what the word “dangerous” entails. The police shooting a criminal who is about to kill women and children is a dangerous act. This, however, does not mean that it is bad or immoral. Violence and dangerous actions can be used to establish the greater good with a wise purpose (hikma).
To also imply that 1.6 billion people around the world are “dangerous” or have the tendency to be “dangerous” is a gross misrepresentation of the faith, redundant, and is clearly Islamophobia.
We must also be clear that the goal of Islam is to lead all of mankind towards Islamic peace, or Pax Islamica. Muslims are also taught to always adhere to the middle path, or wasatiyyah. This is characterised neither by liberal nor radical religious thought but through the promotion of tolerance, balance, equality, consensus, reformism, and in short the summum bonum of all things that take the middle path to materialise as the khairu ummah (the best people).
In order for these things to be achieved, it is recognised that in the Islamic ethos or Weltanschauung, the primary objective of the implementation of Islam, is the realisation of its benefit (maslahah) to mankind , which concerns their affairs both in this world and in the hereafter.
This framework of objectives, which are based on benefit (maslahah) or the Wise Purpose (hikma) known as the maqaasid al-shariah, or the objectives of Islamic law after its implementation.
- In French, Finalité
- In German, Zweck
- In Greek, Telos (τέλος)
The fulfilment of Islamic law covers the protection and preservation of these five fundamental objectives, which are: faith, life, intellect, lineage and wealth.
These values are universally transcendent and are seen as absolute requirements to an individual’s survival and spiritual well-being, to the extent that the destruction or collapse of these objectives would precipitate chaos and the demise of the standard of order in society.
Islam values the maintenance of faith (way of life, deen) in God and the societal way of life based on this principle. To achieve this, Islam ensures that any threat to this value is nullified before it causes a danger to the Muslim community as a whole. This would include freedom of religion, a safe and secure environment which would allow Muslims to practice their faith without any threat, getting rid of Islamophobia as it is currently rampant in Western nations, and all these things are done while ensuring that other religions are also allowed to practice their respective faiths in peace and harmony in a Muslim-dominated society.
And as any other self-respecting nation would do, Islam also takes pre-emptive steps as a counter measure to ensure that this way of life is not undermined. This legislation is no different from how the United States (for example) treated Edward Snowden, Yosef Amit, Jonathan Pollard and Julian Assange when they posed a threat to the integrity of the government. In light of achieving the greater good in this context, how then is Islam a danger to the world?
Islam values the protection and the value of human life. Islam ensures that peace prevails throughout the world via any means that can achieve this aim. Islam is most certainly not danger to the world if it values human life, because according to the words of the Quran itself, “to kill one human is as though you have killed all of mankind”. The purpose of the justice system in Islam which also includes hadd laws is to ensure that crime is controlled and that the person involved can be reformed, or otherwise be taken out of society so that he or she will no longer a threat to anyone else.
Criminologist Edwin Sutherland (1883–1950) published the Principles of Criminology in 1939. Sutherland argued that criminal behaviour was learned, not an inherited trait. Exposure to crime, either through relatives or peers, gave a youth frustrated with his or her social status a choice to pursue crime. These bad influences could be lessened by good relationships with parents, teachers, an employer, or the community, values which Islam promotes.
How then does this prove that Islam is a danger to the world?
Islam cherishes and preserves the intellect, which is why throughout Islamic history we see various advancements and achievements in the development of science and technology in the Muslim world right up until the beginnings of Western colonialism and the fall of the Caliphate.
At the same time, Islam also preserves and protects the intellect by forbidding alcoholism. On average, roughly 40% of inmates who are incarcerated for violent offences were under the influence of alcohol during the time of their crime.
True, alcohol may give people happiness but that happiness is temporary. Not only does it lead to criminal activities but it also leads to other vices which ipso facto jeopardise or badly affect the other values as I’ve mentioned earlier.
Tell me again, how is Islam a danger to the world?
Marriage is deeply rooted in natural human instincts. We crave romantic affection. We want to give love and receive love with a long term partner to spend our entire life with and have children with. Sociologists call this “pair-bonding” and studies have proven that couples who are married are happier than non-married couples (Washington Post)
Islam advocates the family unit and ensures that the lineage of mankind continues throughout the centuries. Towards this end, Islam ensures that laws are in place to curb negative values that are a threat to the integrity of a family unit, and I’m not just referring to the rainbow club.
Marriage requires sacrifices from both sides. Liberals are not interested in sacrificing their individual freedom. In the West, the concept of marriage is dying. People are barely getting married and according to Pew Research, 70% of people will not choose to get married.
Contrast this with Islamic law which preserves marriage and the family. Islam limits individual freedom because individual freedom is not a priority or more important than family. A husband can’t just leave his children and wife so he can have fun while they struggle to make a living. Islam does recognize individual freedom and other values but it doesn’t focus on them alone because there are more important values for a society and family to function.
So again, how does this make Islam a danger to the world?
Islam encourages the preservation and maintenance of wealth. Islam does not frown upon capitalism, at the same time Islam also encourages elements of socialism and welfare in the form of Islamic tithe (zakat) and sadaqah (charity). Islam also implements taxations which are just and fair to run an administration of a state.
Islam also recognises that being poor and needy leads to instabilty and chaos in society, and tries to remove his by banning gambling and interest. This is consistent with what has been attested to by Western criminologists today, that a general disorder in the neighbourhood leads to increased antisocial behaviour and eventually to serious crime.
Islam does this without the need to rely upon secularist, humanistic values which are contrary to the Islamic economic and finance system and involves riba’ (ursury and interest). The implementation of an Islamic economic system has ensured success for Muslim nations even until today, we have Islamic bonds (sukuk) and the Islamic banking system which have existed in Malaysia and in many parts of the Muslim world for over 30 years.
How then does this support the position that Islam is a danger to the world?
Islam is realistic and a religion of pragmatism, it does not see the world purely from dystopian or utopian lenses. Because the real world that we live in now is neither this nor that but could be both in various situations.
In light of this, Islam does use force wherever and whenever is necessary in order to achieve a Wise Purpose (hikma) behind every action and in the context of events. It cannot be stressed enough that context is important in order to evaluate the every action of any Islamic ruling or values as recorded in hadiths or in Islamic history.
Muslims are taught to always strive for the middle path and are never taught to be extremists on either the left or right of the political spectrum of things.
Islam is a holistic way of life (deen), which is the end result from the values derived from maqaasid as I’ve mentioned before. This is one of the goals of Islam as well, to build a relationship between man and God hablul min Allah and a relationship between man and man, hablul min an-nas, in order to eventually move towards to and achieve Pax Islamica.
I cherish these values that Islam clearly promotes. Therefore, in conclusion….and in my opinion, Islam is a danger to the world only if you are a degenerate, a career criminal, a selfish or a lawless person without care for society or a very, very mentally disturbed individual.
And with that, I end my opening statement. Thank you, James, for the opportunity to participate in this discourse.